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Tai Chi to Promote Balance Training

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In this chapter, the use of Tai Chi (TC) to promote balance training is described. Participating in balance training is recommended for older adults at risk for falls. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend TC as a muscle-strengthening exercise and state that TC may prevent falls. The majority of TC research in the past 20 years has explored its effect on various balance outcomes. This review of the effect of TC on balance outcomes found significant improvements in static and dynamic balance, fall rates, and fear of falling in mostly healthy adults. There is some evidence that TC improves postural control strategies and intrinsic factors known to affect balance in healthy adults. Studies have included populations with specific diseases, such as vision impairment, cancer, arthritis, poor bone density, Parkinson's disease, polyneuropathy, cognitive impairment, and diabetes, and older adults living in long-term care facilities. Areas of future research include exploration of mechanisms underpinning changes in dynamic and static balance such as postural control strategies and intrinsic factors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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